Osteochondrosis: primary lesions and surgical treatment

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Osteochondrosis: primary lesions and surgical treatment

Osteochondrosis is an idiopathic disorder affecting joint development. It results in abnormal ossification and affects dogs that presented normal growth up until that point.

This post describes the latest scientific publications of interest on osteochondrosis, we shall review four of them in particular.

Veterinary medicine and care

1. A longitudinal study of the influence of lifetime food restriction on development of osteoarthritis in the canine elbow Huck JL et al. Vet Surg 2009; 38(2):192-198.

This longitudinal study examined the effect of calorie restriction on the development and evolution of osteoarthritis of the elbow. The study sample included puppies from seven different litters assigned to two groups of 24 puppies each. The calorie restriction group received 25% fewer calories than the control group.

There were no statistically significant differences in the frequency of osteoarthritis between the two groups. X-rays of the elbow were taken at 6 and 8 years and the control group showed a greater radiological severity after 6 years.

Calorie restriction increased the subjects’ lifespan by a mean of 1.8 years, but did not affect osteoarthritis of the elbow.

2. Canine elbow dysplasia and primary lesions in German Shepherd dogs in France.  Remy D et al. J Small Anim Pract 2004;45:244-248.

The study assessed 520 German Shepherds to discover the incidence of elbow dysplasia. The authors analysed the following primary lesions: joint incongruence, fragmented medial coronoid process, osteochondrosis of the medial portion of the humeral condyle and ununited anconeal process.

Elbow dysplasia was observed in 19.4% of animals. Joint incongruence was the most frequent lesion, with 16.3% of cases, followed by a fragmented medial coronoid process in 11.3%. Up to 42.2% of subjects with elbow dysplasia also had concomitant lesions.

3. Clinical evaluation and long-term follow-up of dogs having coronoidectomy for elbow incongruity.J Am Anim Hosp Assoc 39[5]:473-478 Sep-Oct ‘03. M Puccio et al.

Elbow incongruity has been described recently. It seems to play a role in diseases such as fragmented coronoid process, osteochondrosis and cartilage erosion.

Its main aetiologies include trauma, asynchronous growth between the ulna and the radius, and underdevelopment of the ulnar trochlear notch.

The study provides a retrospective description of the clinical signs in 17 dogs that only had joint incongruity at the time of surgery (medial coronoidectomy) and their clinical and radiological evolution.

The mean age at the time of surgery was 28.5 months and the mean weight was 43 kg. There were no instances of complications during postoperative recovery and lameness disappeared in 100% of cases. Osteoarthritis showed radiographic progression in 70% of subjects.

4. Sacral osteochondrosis in two German Shepherd dogs.Mathis K et al. Aust Vet J 2009; 87(6):249-252.

This article describes two young castrated German Shepherds with recurrent episodes of pain in the hindlimbs. A physical examination revealed the presence of lumbosacral stenosis. Additional tests (X-rays and CT scans) were indicative of sacral osteochondrosis.

One dog was treated conservatively and the other surgically. The painful episodes reappeared in the unoperated dog, while the dog that underwent surgery remained pain free.

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